“In one way, this is a very critical week. But in another way, I think it is too late.”

The ensuing controversy is sure to take up a considerable amount of time this week — and that may be time that Trump cannot spare.

“In one way, this is a very critical week. But in another way, I think it is too late,” said Grant Reeher, a professor of political science at Syracuse University.

Reeher argued that too much “damage” had already been done to Trump’s candidacy by controversies stretching back many months and that there was not enough time to change the trajectory of the race, absent some extremely dramatic development.

“The only thing that is going to make a difference now is something from the Clinton camp — a major mishap,” he said. “We’re not talking here about stumbling getting into your car. We’re talking about losing your train of thought so badly in a debate that people literally think you are having a seizure.”

Some Trump supporters are investing hope in a different kind of drama.